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Superintendent's Welcome Back Letter


Summer Scrapbooking Skills

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Students in grades four and up recently put their creativity to the test in the “Crop, Paper, Scissors” Summer Program sponsored by the Harborfields Alumni and Community Educational Foundation at Harborfields High School. 

Facilitated by HACEF Camp Director Karin Fey, “Crop, Paper, Scissors” is broken into two four-day sessions throughout the summer. The first session began on July 24, allowing students to learn new and creative ways to showcase old photographs through scrapbooking and innovative craft ideas. Fey, a former magazine editor and craft stylist, taught students the proper way to mount, layer and crop photos.

In addition, the campers made cards and took part in a daily “Mystery Craft,” where they had the freedom to bring their ideas to life. They learned about how to use different craft tools, including a hot glue gun, decorative scissors, punches and stamps to create unique pieces. By the end of camp, the students each constructed their own full 20-page scrapbook album to show family and friends. 

Campers Explore the Wizarding World

Campers Explore the Wizarding World Photo

It was a magical week for the 20 Harborfields students who took part in Harborfields Alumni and Community Educational Foundation’s first “Harry Potter Camp: Bringing Magic to Muggles,” from July 24-27.

The new four-day camp was part of HACEF’s Summer Programs, which allows students in the district to enroll in a variety of different camps that fit their interests over the summer. Run by instructor Dyan Aronowsky, “Harry Potter Camp: Magic to Muggles,” focused on the beloved books by J. K. Rowling. Students in grades three through six, had the opportunity to take part in the camp and put themselves in the magical world of Harry Potter. 

During the first day, each camper was placed in one of the four houses from the books – Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin. Just like in the story, the Sorting Hat picked their fate as they were assigned a house. Over the course of the four days, the campers were encouraged to dress the part as a Hogwarts student and participated in a variety of fun activities that correlated with the books. 

They decorated their own trunks which they filled with their creations throughout the week, produced potions and learned magic tricks. In addition, the campers constructed wands, created maps, made dragon embryos out of slime, played match games which tested their Harry Potter knowledge, took part in scavenger hunts and even played Quidditch outside. 

Quidditch was a favorite part for many of the campers as they enjoyed riding their broomsticks made out of pool noodles and competing for points toward their house. Just like in the books, the campers could gain points for accomplishing different tasks or behaving properly. The list included listening to others, punctuality, respectful behavior, helping others, cleaning up, volunteering, camp spirit and participation. 

On the final day of camp, the house of Gryffindor was crowned the winner of the Hogwarts House Cup, followed by Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Newsday published a photo from the last day of camp in their issue last Friday. Be sure to check it out!

Artists Show Their Colors During Summer Exhibits

Artists Show Their Colors During Summer Exhibits photo

Students have beat the heat this summer with creative, fun and educational programs offered through HACEF’s (Harborfields Alumni and Community Educational Foundation) Summer Camp program.

The program, which offers a variety of different four-day camp options, recently held two special art exhibits for those in the art camps to showcase their final work for friends and family. The HACEF Camp program has experienced unprecedented growth in the last few years — with a total of nearly 690 students registered this summer, a number that surpassed last year’s record-breaking 570.

The first exhibit on July 13, featured the creations of campers who took part in the Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, Exploring 2-D & 3-D Art, Creative Photography, and Painting “Al Fresco” camp sessions. A field trip to Northport Village, was the inspiration behind the photographs and watercolors of the campers in Creative Photography and Painting “Al Fresco.” Campers in the Drawing, Painting and Sculpture camp also showed off their artistic abilities with their colorful self-portraits. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni attended the first exhibit where he spoke with the campers and learned about the pieces they created. 

“Dr. Ianni was so great with the kids, engaging them in conversation about their projects and being very impressed,” said Karin Fey, who—along with Emma Hendler—are the HACEF Summer Camp directors. “None of this would be possible without the support from administration and the hard work of our amazing teachers, who astound us weekly with their ingenuity and creativity.”

The second exhibit on July 20, displayed the work of campers involved in Fashion Design and another session of Exploring 2-D & 3-D Art, and Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. Fifth- through eighth-graders in Fashion Design, learned how to sketch their own line of clothing and had the option of creating a fall or spring collection under the guidance of instructor Roe Elder. In addition, third- through fifth-grade students who participated in Exploring 2-D & 3-D Art produced their own landscape paintings, T-shirts and glass light catchers. 

Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Human Resources Dr. Rory Manning stopped by the second exhibit where he was greeted by kindergarten through second-grade campers in the Drawing, Painting and Sculpture’s camp. On display were wacky animal sculptures, paintings of a city setting and painted ceramic tiles of the sun and moon. 

Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School Welcomes New Principal

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The district’s Board of Education recently appointed Susan Kenny as the new principal of Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School, filling the position previously held by recent retiree, principal Marguerite Greene. 

Mrs. Kenny began her new role in the district on July 1 and planned three “meet and greet” days for grades 3-5, one for each grade level at Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School to meet the families and students of her new school community. During the first meet and greet day on July 18, Mrs. Kenny introduced herself to third-grade students and their families and presented some fun facts about herself. 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni, new Director of Pupil Personnel Services Theresa McGuire and Assistant Principal Mary Williams showed their support at the event where Mrs. Kenny spoke about her family, her travel experiences, her volunteer work with Honor Flight Long Island and her career as an educator and administrator.

Before joining Harborfields, Mrs. Kenny served as an elementary assistant principal in the Garden City, Roslyn and Eastport-South Manor school districts. She was also a reading teacher in the West Babylon School District. 

“It was clear that Mrs. Kenny’s leadership skills combined with her strong background in literacy and passion for learning, fit well with our mission of providing our students with a world-class education, one child at a time,” said Dr. Ianni.

During the event, Mrs. Kenny discussed what her focus will be during the new school year and showed a video which highlighted the importance of not giving up, a concept that she wants third-, fourth- and fifth-graders to take to heart. 

“Here at Thomas J. Lahey, we want to make sure that your children come to school feeling safe, welcomed and connected,” she said. “This year, our focus is going to be on creating an atmosphere where students can take risks, learn from failure, come up with the skills to problem solve and persevere when faced with challenges.”   

The other “Meet and Greet” days are as followed: 
Grade 4 – Wednesday, July 26, 2017 from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Grade 5 – Wednesday, August 16, 2017 from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Welcome, Mrs. Kenny! 

New Trustee Sworn In

New Trustee Sworn In Photo

The district’s Board of Education gathered for their annual reorganization meeting on July 11 to officially welcome their newest trustee and select their president and vice president for the 2017-18 school year.

Trustee Christopher Kelly was sworn in by District Clerk Sharon Whelan, joining the board for a three-year term. Board member David Steinberg was also sworn in for another term and was elected unanimously by his fellow board members to serve as board president, taking the seat of Nicholas Giuliano, who retired from the board in June.

In addition, trustee Suzie Lustig was elected unanimously by the board to take on the role as vice president for the new school year and was sworn in. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni also took the oath of office during the meeting.

Safety First Student Earns Top Spot for Poster

Safety First Student Earns Top Spot for Poster Photo
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Congratulations to Washington Drive Primary School first-grader Max Orza, who was recently honored by Legislator William R. Spencer, M.D. as the first place winner of the annual “Be Pool Smart” poster contest in the 18th Legislative District!

The contest, which was established in 2007, encourages pool safety by giving elementary school students the opportunity to create a poster showcasing how to stay safe when near the water.

Legislator Spencer visited the school to speak with Orza, his family, Principal Maureen Kelly and Assistant Principal Tara Falasco, where he presented the student with an official proclamation and thanked him for his excellent work.

“By doing this, you help talk to other young people and tell them that you need to be safe around pools,” said Legislator Spencer.

Orza, who has a pool at his own home, created the poster with the words, “Be Pool Smart” and “Always Swim with a Buddy,” in large letters. He also drew arrows, signs and illustrations to stress how to stay safe.

The Class of 2017 Bids Farewell

The Class of 2017 Bids Farewell Photo

Dressed in green and white cap and gowns, Harborfields High School seniors made their way across the high school gymnasium and received their diploma on June 24. The celebration, which traditionally takes place outdoors, was based inside due to inclement weather but did not dampen the spirits of the proud graduates.

Family members, friends, staff, board members and administrators gathered for the momentous occasion which marked the end of an era for retiring Board President Nicholas Giuliano and a first for Harborfields High School Principal Timothy Russo and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni.

The stands of the high school gymnasium were filled with anticipated guests as the graduates made their entrance to “Pomp and Circumstance” by Sir Edward Elgar, played by the high school band. The ceremony kicked off with the Pledge of Allegiance, a performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” from the senior members of the high school choir and the Alma Mater.

Russo welcomed those in attendance and Dr. Ianni addressed the graduates. During his speech, he gave special recognition to the board president for his commitment to the board of education for the past 15 years.

“Mr. Giuliano, this is your class,” he said. “The students that you see in front of you were in Washington Drive Primary School when you started and they were the direct recipients of the many decisions that you and the board made during your time at Harborfields. What you have in front of you is one of the best graduating classes that Harborfields has to offer.”

Russo also commended him for his consistent direction and support in the district. He proudly presented him with the first diploma of the ceremony.

Salutatorian Ishaan Lohia addressed his fellow graduates and offered a humorous speech about his high school experience and what he learned over the years, while class president Sean Tully wished his classmates the best of luck in their future endeavors.

In addition, valedictorian Casandra Moisanu spoke to the Class of 2017, reflecting back on their high school years, their outlook for the future and the strong connections made within the graduating class.

“I want everyone to remember that no matter where we end up, we are still an HF Family,” she said. “I know we would all like to see each other succeed and I trust that we will be there for each other in the future.”
Voted on by the graduates, featured speaker and social studies teacher Daniel Greening offered his best wishes, while Russo shared his own praises and encouragement. To leave the students with something to hold onto, Russo gifted each of them with an evergreen tree to help them remember their roots.

One by one, board members presented diplomas to each graduate as their name was proudly announced and Russo shook their hands in congratulations. At the conclusion of the ceremony, green and white caps filled the air in unison as the high school band played the graduates out into the next chapter of their lives.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017!   

A Successful Year for the TJL Orchestra

A Successful Year for the TJL Orchestra Photo

With much excitement and anticipation, the Third-Grade String Program was added back to Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School this year and proved to be successful under the direction of teachers Cathy Ferraro and Courtney Kassinger.

“The Third-Grade String Program was a program that existed for many years in Harborfields and we are so happy to have it back,” said Ferraro. “It is amazing how much the students can accomplish on their instruments at such a young age. Starting in the third-grade really helps to give them that edge on their future musical endeavors, and teaches them great lessons in responsibility and perseverance along the way.”

The students were in awe when they heard how they sounded together as a full orchestra, at their first early orchestra rehearsal in May. Fifth-grade orchestra members were assigned as mentors at the rehearsals, helping the third-graders get acclimated to the rehearsal routine, and playing along to model proper orchestra rehearsal behavior and technique. The third-grade students were so excited to be given this special opportunity, and they beamed as they performed in their first concert on June 1.

This Spring, third-graders, along with fourth-grade orchestra members also had the opportunity to attend “open rehearsals,” where they could sit in on a fifth-grade orchestra rehearsal. The students were very excited to see their older peers in the rehearsal setting.  

“It is not easy being a beginner on your instrument, and the music is very basic in the first year of playing, said Ferraro. “I invited the students to this open rehearsal to give them a taste of the exciting musical experiences that they have to look forward to in their years to come in the TJL Orchestra Program.”

Ferraro asked them questions during the rehearsal to keep them engaged. She encouraged them to listen for and notice the differences between the fifth-grade orchestra concert music and techniques, and that of their own. The students enjoyed taking part in the open rehearsal. It was a great motivator for them to continue with their musical progress.

District Spotlights Music Trip and Reward School Honor

District Spotlights Music Trip and Reward School Honor Photo

During the district’s recent Board of Education meeting, Music Department Coordinator Dan Bilawsky presented a video on the Harborfields High School Jazz Band’s trip to New Orleans this past March. In addition, Harborfields High School Principal Timothy Russo was presented with a certificate, naming the high school a New York State Reward School for the 2017-18 school year.

Mr. Bilawsky spoke about the memorable trip and thanked the central administration and the Board of Education for their support in making it a reality for the students. The video, created by student Jack Salzman, featured music from the Jazz Band performances and photos of what the students had the opportunity to experience while in New Orleans.

Following the impressive presentation, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni called upon Mr. Russo and announced that the high school was among 185 schools in New York State who received the honor of becoming a 2017-18 Reward School. To earn this prestigious recognition, the school had to make the most progress or have the highest achievement in New York State with no significant gaps in student achievement.

Check out the Harborfields High School Jazz Band’s video below!

To read more about the trip to New Orleans, please follow the link:

Letter from the Superintendent regarding Reflection on 2016-2017 School Year


Honoring America’s Flag

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Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School students and faculty members gathered for two assemblies on June 14, to honor Flag Day. The ceremonies unfolded in the school’s cafetorium, where classes dressed in patriotic fashion.

Local veterans from the American Legion were invited to the event and sat front row as the celebration took place. Boy Scouts opened the ceremony by leading the flag down to the stage followed by Principal Marguerite Greene and students waving American Flags. Together, they all recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  

Several fifth-graders approached the podium and read either a poem or essay on what the American flag means to them. Ms. Greene shared her favorite patriotic poem with the audience and the students sang a number of America-related songs such as “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the classes walked past the veterans, shaking each of their hands as they exited to thank them for their service and the sacrifices that they made for the country.